Thanksgiving recipes bring back memories

Pie crust

Pumped-up piecrust awaits its custardy filling. No spills with a raised-edge crust. Photo by Laura Groch

Well, we’re coming close to crunch time for Thanksgiving cooks. You’ve probably already got your recipes in hand, but just in case you still need some ideas, here are some of my favorites:

First up, a sweet potato-and-apple dish that I actually enjoy: Find it here. Next, my Italian grandmother’s stuffing recipe, which you’ll find here. How to make hearty turkey soup from the leftovers here. Some hints for your pumpkin pie crust here.

And, in case you’d like to be reassured that even seasoned cooks can make kitchen blunders, check out the tale of my 2014 turkey here.

This year we’ll be at my dad’s assisted living residence, which has good food and where the chef enjoys a chance to show off his skills. Things will be different, but still festive. As my aunt says, “Laura, it’s just another day.” And she is right. We can have Thanksgiving every day if we want it. I hope you enjoy yours. :<)

turkey soup

Turkey soup made days afterward is one of the best things about Thanksgiving. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Now, to more recipes: Looking through my files, I rediscovered some ideas/recipes that might be fun to try again.

First is a turkey trick I tried a few years ago and then completely forgot about: No, not brining, but just pouring boiling water over the turkey before preparing it for the oven or grill. What does this do? It tightens the skin over the turkey, which keeps the bird moister. A lot easier than brining, too.

My husband poured the boiling water over the bird as I held it over the sink —- and we could see the skin seeming to “shrink-wrap” over the turkey! We then oiled it and placed it breast-up on a V-shaped rack without further seasoning —- the mesquite wood we use in the barbecue usually takes care of that. When we sliced into the cooked bird, the meat was plenty juicy —- success. If you decide to try this, don’t forget to season your bird after you pour the water on it.

The second is a recipe for sweet potatoes. I’ve written before about my love-hate relationship with these veggies. They’re good for us, I know. They just don’t excite me. But I found another intriguing recipe at Recipezaar.com from Food Network chef Tyler Florence that called for roasting the sweet potatoes with bananas, then sweetening with honey. It turned out really well, and I think I’ll be tackling it again:

Whipped Sweet Potatoes And Bananas With Honey

5 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed

4 bananas, unpeeled

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup honey

kosher salt

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork, put them in a roasting pan in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Toss the bananas into the pan and continue roasting for 10 to 15 minutes, until both bananas and potatoes are very soft. Remove pan from oven, but don’t turn oven off.

When potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Peel the bananas and add to the bowl along with 1 stick of the butter, and the honey. Season with salt and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until everything’s well combined and the mixture is fluffy. Spoon into an oven-proof serving bowl and smooth the top.

In a separate mixing bowl, use your fingers to rub together (sorry, I use a pastry blender) the remaining stick of butter, the brown sugar, flour, and pecans until the mixture is the consistency of coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the sweet potatoes and return to the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the crumbs are golden. Serve hot. Serves 10-12.

Last is this recipe for Pomegranate-Ginger Relish, which appeared in the North County Times in 2002, in a story about chef Carlton Greenawalt of the now-defunct 150 Grand restaurant. “You can do it ahead of time and freeze it,” he suggested in the story. “It’s a refreshing relish. It’s tart and sweet.” This would be a nice addition to the Thanksgiving table.

Pomegranate-Ginger Relish

3 cups pomegranate seeds 

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger

1 shallot, chopped fine

2 tablespoons chopped tarragon

Blend half of pomegranate seeds until liquefied. Strain through fine strainer and cheesecloth. Mix with sugar and bring to boil. Cool. Mix with remaining seeds and additional ingredients. Season to taste. Makes 4 servings.

(c) Copyright 2017 Laura Groch

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